In Pennsylvania, Voter ID Law Threatens to Exclude Nearly 10 Percent of State’s Voters

This post was updated on July 9. Older Pennsylvanians who don’t drive could face a problem in November: They may not be able to vote. According to data released this week by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, more than 758,000 registered voters in the Keystone State  – some 9.2 percent of Pennsylvania’s 8.2 million voters – do not have DOT-issued ID cards. Under the state’s new voter ID law, that means they may not be able to vote. And the …

For the Obama Campaign, a Cloud with a Silver Lining

It’s a good news-bad news thing that’s got to be really frustrating for the message-makers inside the Obama campaign. Voters in the 65-and-up bracket, polls show, believe the president and the Democrats will do a better job serving older Americans and have better ideas for Social Security, Medicare and health care. But they still prefer Republican Mitt Romney. The margins are narrow all the way around, suggesting that voters 65 and older are as divided as everyone else over their …

A Cohort That’s Up for Grabs This Year

The “senior vote,” says Curtis Gans, is up for grabs this year, what with older Americans worried about their retirement security but unsettled over some social issues. Gans should know: He’s been studying voter groups, or “cohorts,” as he calls them, for more than three decades. As Gans, the director of the Center for the independent Study of the American Electorate, told a group of foreign reporters recently, the 65-and-older vote isn’t what it used to be. In the 1960s …

A Radical Proposal to Narrow the “Turnout Gap”: Make Voting Compulsory

It’s hardly news that younger people are much less likely to go to the polls than older people. Just 48.5 percent of all 18- to 24-year-old Americans voted in the 2008 presidential election, for example, compared with 72.6 percent of those 65 and older. That’s a “turnout gap” of more than 24 percent. It’s much the same in many other countries, including England. According to the London-based Institute for Public Policy Research, just 44 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds in …

Year of the Job-Seeker

Susan Milligan is visiting six Election 2012 battleground states to talk with 50-plus voters for a report that will be published in the September issue of the AARP Bulletin. She posted this from a career fair in Independence, Ohio. A lot of middle-aged Ohioans are looking for jobs. While things here are better than they were – the unemployment rate statewide was 7.5 percent in March, down from a high of 10.6 percent in late 2009 – the people I …

Is the Grand Old Party Growing Older?

Republican primary voters are getting older. And it’s not just because, like the rest of us, they’ve aged four years since the last presidential election. The proportion of GOP primary voters who are 50 and older has gotten substantially bigger since 2008, according to exit polls in the states that have held primaries so far, even as overall turnout has dropped. In many cases, the increases have been in the double digits, showing a dramatic rise in the influence of …